Singles of the Week
The warm weather is finally here! Time to put away your overcoats and jumpers and dig out your shorts and sunglasses. And what better way to celebrate than to peruse the hottest singles coming out this week. So crack open a beer and take a look...
The latest in a series of collaborations between South London duo Alpines with cutting edge names in electronic music, 'Gold' sees the duo combine with Craze + Hoax to darkly brilliant effect. An unsettling instrumental backing mixes perfectly with Catherine Pockson's gloriously ghostly vocals to create a track that lingers long in the memory.
The seven-track debut EP from Melbourne's Chet Faker contains one of the finest covers of recent years, in the form of his genius take on Blackstreet's 'No Diggity' which hit No.1 on Hype Machine, but it's his new stuff that you'll find equally thrilling. Smartly crafted and brimming with emotion, the likes of subtly lush 'Terms And Conditions' and the dancier 'Solo Sunrise', with its killer synth hook, impress even if Chet's style - mixing elements of jazz, soul and electronica - may prove too different for some. Well worth a look.
Troublingly proficient debut from the Bristolian five piece. Even the video was shot in Australia. The tropical guitars are very 2012 but they've put the drums up front and not skimped on some big hooks. Kids these days, they're know what they're doing.
When Crushing Blows go OTT and Arcade Fire, 'Hiding Blows' makes a substantial impression. The other bits, not so much - so maybe it's a case of being brave enough to go all out 100% of the time. There's definitely something here worth persisting with.
A heavily layered synth powered rocker that, while enjoyable enough, lacks that one big hook to keep you interested. Not bad for a debut though.
With soulful vocals, handclaps and tinkly piano keys, there's a lot to admire about Electric Guest's 'This Head I Hold', taken from the duo's debut album Mondo (out April 23rd). It's a ridiculously polished track which will perfectly complement a cold beer out in the sun during this unseasonably gorgeous weather.
Jamie N Commons
Never judge a book by its cover. Up and coming blues artist Jamie N Commons has a handsome boyish face. Then he opens his mouth and this voice born from the smoky bars of the deep south comes out. You can almost smell the whisky on his breath. 'Devil In Me' is dark and powerful, the arrangement wisely kept to a minimum to give Commons' distinctive voice more room. Impressive tune from an impressive young artist.
South Londoner Jessie Ware's follow-up to her debut single 'Strangest Feeling' is a sharp and slick affair. 'Running' oozes class from the soft synths through to Jessie's lovely vocals without a note out of place. The retro-tinged guitar solos pretty much seal the deal for us.
Oh, we like this! Atmospheric, melancholy synth pop all the way from Athens, Georgia. Like Hurts but better, y'know?
pacificUV - Funny Girl by Freeman PR
Listen to 'You & I Belong', new single from Simone Felice's debut album, and feel your spirits instantly brighten. Piano, acoustic guitars and banjos swim around Felice's lovely voice and the melody is bright and breezy. The result is guaranteed-smile-on-your face happiness, at least for three minutes and sixteen seconds anyway.
Single of the Week
You can't go wrong with a harmonica solo and there's not a lot Charlie Simpson does wrong on his 'Farmer & His Gun' EP. Comprised of two versions of the title track - there's minimal difference between the two and its jaunty charms win you over on both - and a new track in the form of the melancholic and touching 'Lost', as well as his solid cover of Jackson Browne's 'Barricades Of Heaven', it's an EP to delight fans and potentially win over any naysayers that still remain following Charlie's switch to folk-infused solo efforts. Lovely stuff.